White Plains, NY (September 15, 2020) – The Westchester County Association (WCA), the region’s leading economic development and business advocacy organization, today announced a series of initiatives designed to drive economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and to foster long-term growth.
The initiatives are outlined in “Towards a Stronger Future,” a newly-released report from the WCA’s Post Pandemic Working Group (PPWG), which is a select committee of business, nonprofit, and education and government leaders who are working collaboratively to support the recovery and long-term prosperity of the region. The Towards a Stronger Future report, which is available for download on the WCA’s website, sets forth a clear advocacy and action agenda in those Four Foundational Pillars of Economic Recovery where the WCA is well-positioned through its proven expertise and deep professional network to achieve significant impact: healthcare and bioscience, real estate and housing, digital connectivity, and energy and sustainability.
Among the initiatives outlined in the report, many of which are already underway by the WCA, are:
Healthcare and Bioscience
- Advocate for critical issues including broadening telehealth insurance coverage from both public and private payers, reigning-in oversized market influence of healthcare insurance carriers, and requiring healthcare reinvestment by insurers
- Establish a Talent Council that identifies the greatest hiring needs in the healthcare sector, convenes employers, job trainers and representative job seekers to improve pathways to career jobs, and engages high-level healthcare employer stakeholders with college presidents to foster alignment of college curriculums with talent needs
- Showcase and grow the healthcare/bioscience nexus, with bioscience as an emerging sector in the region
Real Estate and Housing
- Amend the WCA’s Real Estate and Housing Policy Playbook, a published resource that outlines how to design, validate and deploy land use policies and strategies to improve the planning, zoning and approval processes across municipalities in the county, to include a chapter on affordable housing, including policy recommendations and “how-to” guides to address this critical shortage
- Mobilize a housing stakeholder group to foster collaboration among public and private sectors and coordinate efforts of various housing programs and initiatives
- Collaborate with the Housing Action Council and Pace University’s Land Use Law Center to establish an Employer Assisted Housing Program that employers can offer their employees to help secure housing.
- Advocate for a clear broadband infrastructure and digital connectivity policy by developing and promoting a municipal list of do’s and don’ts in cable franchising, fiber and small cell use of public rights of way, and permit streamlining of municipal codes appropriate for the region
- Support proposed federal recovery and infrastructure legislation that includes funding for non-rural areas and which encompasses the Hudson Valley
- Address the digital divide through strategic partnerships and workforce development initiatives that include skills gap training in digital fluency
Energy and Sustainability
- Advocate for sustainable energy policy that rewards clean energy building projects and retrofits, solicits projects that move us toward a clean energy future, adopts county-wide green building codes, and views investments in public transit and EV charging stations as essential economic infrastructure
- Partner with Pace University’s Energy and Climate Center to develop a clean energy information clearinghouse to drive awareness and understanding of the range of programs and resources (financial and otherwise) available to developers, building owners and businesses wishing to transition to a lower carbon footprint
- Partner with Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business to develop a curriculum in organizational sustainability to arm business professionals with the practical skills needed to develop and implement an enduring sustainability program within their organizations.
“The advocacy agenda and initiatives outlined in this report are the result of a collaborative effort of some of the region’s most dedicated professionals from business, nonprofit, education, labor and government,” noted WCA President and Chief Executive Officer Michael N. Romita. “As we implement these initiatives and continue to collaborate with key stakeholders across industry sectors and throughout the region, we will achieve tangible progress toward a stronger, more resilient economy for our region. The WCA seeks measurable results and invites others to join our efforts.”
ABOUT THE WESTCHESTER COUNTY ASSOCIATION
The Westchester County Association is the most influential group of businesses and nonprofit organizations in the lower Hudson Valley. For more than 70 years, the WCA has served as the collective voice of a broad range of industries including real estate, healthcare and bioscience, law, energy, finance & banking, hospitality, technology, education and nonprofit organizations, and local municipalities.
As the leading advocacy and economic development organization in the region, the WCA fosters strong personal connections, advocates for issues, and administers programs that cultivate a robust economic environment for its members and the community at large.
Visit www.westchester.org for more information about the WCA’s current initiatives and upcoming events.